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In The Cards: "Conspiracy"

by Michael Shea, Designer and Volunteer

15th May 2020

In 1988, during the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, an episode called "Conspiracy" aired. At the time, it was so dark that it was originally banned for broadcast in the United Kingdom and would only be aired in Canada after a warning was broadcast to viewers. In this episode, Picard and crew must confront an unseen enemy in the form of a parasitic life form that is slowly taking control of the Federation command structure. Foreshadowing of this threat occurred in the episode Coming of Age", and "Conspiracy" finds the admiral that warned Jean-Luc Picard of the threat now taking over by the parasites that will come to be called the Bluegills. This episodes consistently ranked as a fan-favorite in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Peaceful Coexistence

The events depicted in this episode inspired the Bluegill keyword and related mechanics in Second Edition. First introduced in Balance of Terror during Phase II, the Bluegills "take over" [TNG] using an event called Peaceful Coexistence, which gives each unique [TNG] personnel (except Androids and Holograms) the Bluegill keyword and then makes each Bluegill personnel Integrity -1 and Strength +1. Since the event is non-unique, its effects can be stacked, potentially making each Bluegill Integrity -3 and Strength +3. In the right deck, this can provide formidable array of attributes - imagine a Strength 11 Worf helping to complete your [Fed] strength mission, for example.

At the center of most Bluegill decks are a trio of unique personnel who are already Bluegills: Dexter Remmick, Alien Thrall; Gregory Quinn, Alien Courier; and Savar, Alien Pawn. Remmick cannot be captured or stopped while he present with three Bluegill personnel. Quinn allows you to save Bluegill personnel from being killed. Savar provides a response to the kind of "bounce" dilemma piles that have been the topic of passionate debate over the last week.

Peaceful Coexistence also gives us a second new keyword - also introduced in Balance of Terror - called Paranoia. Essentially, Paranoia cards depict the age-old conflict between freedom and security - a timely and important debate many societies are having right now. These cards are creatively themed around dealing with conflict or fear by surrendering some valuable principle in the name of preservation or victory (hence the name of the keyword). Right now [DS9], [E], [SF], [TNG], and [TN] decks can all make use of Paranoia cards, but one can easily imagine other affiliations or factions involved in a life-or-death struggle in which "freedom is sacrificed for security" gaining access to the keyword.

I spoke with Charlie Plaine, the Lead Designer for Balance of Terror, and he recollected that the Paranoia keyword was inspired by the ability on Luther Sloan and now I can imagine expanding the use of the keyword on Section 31-themed cards.

The episode "Conspiracy" has also given Second Edition a number of other cards unrelated to either the Bluegill or Paranoia keywords. These include the dilemmas Code Forty-Seven and Shaken Confidence, and everyone's second favorite Bolian Rixx, one of a [TNG] player's most popular non-unique cards. But, a number of personnel and events seen in the episode still haven't made it to Second Edition, including Captain Walker Keel and his ship The U.S.S. Horatio, Captain Tryla Scott (either before or after be taken over by the Bluegills), and the third Bluegill flag officer Admiral Aaron. And what about a "bowl of living larvae" as a Bluegill-themed commodity with a built-in Paranoia benefit? That could be fun!

In closing, I've attached a deck I built using Peaceful Coexistence to help complete a suite of [Fed] Strength missions inspired by cards in the recent set The Omega Directive. A more detailed write-up of the cards in this deck can be found here.

Next time I'll be discussing the DS9 Season 3, Episode 20: "Improbable Cause." Until then, please stay safe and healthy. Also, don't forget to register for any one of several up-coming online Trek events. For more general information on online play, see these articles. If you have questions about Second Edition online play, you can probably also get on the forums and ask questions - any number of players will be happy to answer your questions. Dates and registration links for each event are as follows:

2020-05-16 - 12:00 PM

2020-05-18 - 09:00 AM

2020-05-23 - 11:00 AM

2020-06-01 - 09:00 AM

Live Long and Prosper.

- Michael Shea, The Prefect

Discuss this article in this thread.

This deck is currently eligible for the following family or families of achievements:


Print DecklistPrint ChecklistCopy DeckDownload Into DeckPADD

0VP6•Earth, Cradle of the Federation
50V4•Cardassia Prime, Secure Homeworld
3U109•The Siege of AR-558
50V2•Bajoran Sector, Engage Enemy Forces
26V24•Penetrate Enemy Lines

Draw Deck (52)
2R352x Common Ground
0VP2012x Disadvantage Into Advantage
31V183x Peaceful Coexistence
5P122x Security Drills
0VP2211x Tacking Into the Wind
14R431x •U.S.S. Enterprise-J
2C692x Unexpected Difficulties
35V122x War Without End
24V301x •Benjamin Maxwell, Misguided Maverick
31V351x •Benjamin Sisko, Acting Head of Starfleet Security
13C591x •Beverly Crusher, Battleship Doctor
13C601x •Data, Battleship Officer
31V361x •Dexter Remmick, Alien Thrall
0VP3051x •Donald Varley, Discoverer of Iconia
48V111x •Edward Jellico, Brusque Martinet
35V211x •Erik Pressman, Stern Authoritarian
17V601x •Geordi La Forge, Battleship Engineer
31V371x •Gregory Quinn, Alien Courier
25V381x •Guinan, Battleship Bartender
13C642x •Jean-Luc Picard, Battleship Captain
2C1261x •Kelly, Relief Tactical Officer
10U721x •Kosinski, Arrogant Engineer
0VP1751x •Leonard H. McCoy, Remarkable Man
1R2721x •Leyton, Chief of Starfleet Operations
35V251x •Lwaxana Troi, Psychic Tutor
2R1281x •Miles O'Brien, Transporter Chief
7R691x •Montgomery Scott, Relic
0VP2361x •Reginald Barclay, Exceeding Limits
41V211x •Ro Laren, Proven Expert
49V451x •Savar, Alien Pawn
0VP2753x Shelley
35V291x •Spock, Maverick Diplomat
28V381x •Tasha Yar, Requesting a Transfer
47V91x •Vash, Duplicitous Damsel
13C821x •Wesley Crusher, Battleship Helmsman
13C831x •William T. Riker, Battleship First Officer
5P301x •Worf, First Officer
14R1122x •I.K.S. Qel'Poh, H.M.S. Bounty
13C1173x •U.S.S. Enterprise-D, Battleship
Dilemma Pile (38)
29V12x Adopted Authority
1C152x Chula: Echoes
8U62x Chula: Move Along Home
1C162x Chula: Pick One to Save Two
0VP1762x Chula: The Chandra
13R42x Chula: The Dice
30V23x Chula: The Game
19V12x Chula: The Precipice
30V32x Chula: Trickery
16V52x Chula: Unfortunate Roll
30V41x Discommendation
50V11x Garak Has Some Issues
0VP1671x Moral Choice
16V161x The Seen and the Unseen
2C252x Timescape
40V91x Weight of Command
38V61x Journey to the Past
0VP1412x Sylvia
0VP1302x Whisper in the Dark
4R282x Tsiolkovsky Infection
0VP903x Where No One Has Gone Before

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